The depth of thought of each virtue is matched by the density of tone and texture, and the richness of colour and shade created by sets of harmonising strings from soaring violins and fibrillating violas to gasping cellos and rumbling basses. Percussion and keyboards, when introduced into each part of the suite add accents and angular timbre to the music, often joined in by basses playing pizzicato in counterpoint with each other. And then there is the character that is given to each virtue; echoed in the richness of timbre and colour by the confluence of instrumentation. “Diligence” is a sublime example.
Introduced by the melodically tuned timpani drums played by the inimitable Warren Smith, the percussionist then draws in the strings and keyboards, flushed with the magnificent sound of violins and violas; cellos askance, lean into the melody. Double stops and rhythmic rumbling of the basses— con arco and pizzicato respectively—create a sort of gravitas that sings duty and exactitude, while violins ascending in wailing mode, dappled by interesting accents on the keyboards create a brilliant three—and sometimes four—dimensional piece, superbly paced as if interminably by Mr. Daley. Each virtue is treated with thoughtfulness and an equal measure of ingenuity as on Mr. Daley can.
For instance, “Patience” features a lilting melody heralded by strings, “Humility” sways with the exquisite pianism of Lafayette Harris, soon descending into a passage filled with dissonance as if, it seems, to contrast what must be avoided at all costs, i.e., pride, but the pianist restores himself to a poised state and is joined by the basses in a restful sequence that while bringing the sequence to a conclusion draws in the percussionists first and then the whole orchestra in a beautiful conclusion.
However Mr. Daley’s enormous input in composition and musical direction is not the only reason for this marvelous opus. The strings are brilliantly prepared to execute this complex suite. For the various members, no praise is high enough and although no members of the orchestra are credited with soli specifically, the inspiration of the orchestra’s stellar members is probably sufficient to propel the rest of the cast to greater heights. For it is sure that the presence of musicians such as cellist Akua Dixon, who leads the ensemble on “Charity,” as well as pianist Lafayette Harris, the great Warren Smith on percussion and Jerry Gonzalez, the lone brass player on the album (but not on the venturesome suite) who also explodes on percussion; all of whom must fire up the rest of the ensemble.
Both these works are a testament to the importance of Mr Daley as composer, conductor and musician. His works holds their own with the most outstanding music in a jazz or classical idiom. This re-release proves this just as the individual recordings did when they were first released. Mr. Daley ought also to be proud his musicians’ performance here. Some of them have, quite tragically, passed into another realm as well. Fortunately for us, though we have this music to celebrate once again, on an album to die for…
Track list – The Seven Heavenly Virtues – 1: Patience; 2: Diligence; 3: Chastity; 4: Humility; 5: Charity; 6: Kindness; 7: Temperance. The Seven Deadly Sins – 1: Invidia (Envy); 2: Avarita (Avarice); 3: Gula (Gluttony); 4: Superbia Pride); 5: Lechery (Lust); 6: Ira (Anger); 7: Desida (Sloth)
Personnel – The Seven Heavenly Virtues – Joseph Daley: composer and conductor; Curtis Stewart: 1st violin and concertmaster; Mazz Swift: 1st violin; Jason Hwang: 1st violin; Skye Steele: 1st violin; Charles Burnham: 2nd violin; Elektra Kurtis: 2nd violin; Jessie Montgomery: 2nd violin; Sarah Bernstein: 2nd violin; Nick Revel: viola; Janina Norpoth: viola; Trevor New: viola; Nora Krohn: viola; Akua Dixon: cello; Marika Hughes: cello; Amanda Gookin: cello; Rubin Kodheli: cello; Ken Filiano: contrabass; Ben Brown: contrabass; Lafayette Harris: piano; Guest Artists – Jerry Gonzalez: percussion; Onaje Allan Gumbs: keyboards; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion; Richard Huntley: percussion; The Seven Deadly Sins – Joseph Daley Earth Tones Ensemble – Joseph Daley: composer, conductor, euphonium and tuba; Marty Ehrlich: soprano saxophone; Jimmy Cozier: alto saxophone; Bill Saxon: tenor saxophone; Bob DeBellis: tenor saxophone; Howard Johnson: baritone saxophone, contrabass clarinet and tuba; Scott Robinson: bass saxophone, sarrusophone and contrabass saxophone; Lew Soloff: trumpet; Stanton Davis: trumpet; Eddie Allen: trumpet; Reggie Pittman: trumpet; Stephen Haynes: trumpet; Gary Valente: trombone; Alfred Patterson: trombone; Craig Harris: trombone; Earl McIntyre: bass trombone and tuba; Bob Stewart: tuba; Vincent Chancey: French horn; Mark Taylor: French horn; Onaje Allan Gumbs: piano; Benjamin Brown: contrabass and electric bass; Warren Smith: vibraphone, marimba and percussion; Buddy Williams: drum kit and percussion; Satoshi Takeshi: percussion; William Bausch: timbales; Richard Huntley: percussion; Guests Artists – Steve Elson: saxophone; Reut Regev: trombone;
Released – 2019
Label – JoDa Music (005)
Runtime – 1:17:42